Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As the Sky Birds Sing

The Kiss
—Gustav Klimt

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Today Gustav Klimt
is celebrated
in Vienna
with "The Kiss"
gloved in lemon
150 years
young this week
as pilgrimages
of tourists walk by
a painting
in a flowing poise
of symbolist color
offering a gesture
cutting through eras
of living art
motions upward
spiraling patinas
in the enlightened
lamps of sunlight.


—B.Z. Niditch

America's public
and private poet,
an international poet,
a poet traveler
in peace and war
Southern and Northern
symbolist poet
friend of the solitary
and infinite liberty
friend for life
hands raised
to poets everywhere,
the scholarly,
all misunderstood,
the mystery
and contemplative,
the detective
of love and language
leaves our memory
the sky birds sing
for you this day.

(Edgar Allan Poe's birthday was Jan. 19.)


—Michael Cluff, Corona

Hiram was a victim
the need for untied bow ties
filtered his hours into
purchase and practice
since his forty-eight-year-old joints
were no longer adept
at the procedure involved in
the many twists and turns
such a fashionable look
inflicted on his novacained-like digits.
the trussed-up look
around his neck
nearly wattled complete
reminded him
of those days
when Cousin Maude
would hold him down
by his throat
in order for her
to have her own
particular, peculiar way
with him.
He was never happy
until she re-intruded
in his recently divorced thoughts.

—Taylor Graham

 I tell people to enjoy "warm" (in the 60's) Sacramento January sunshine while they can
 because it can mean February and March might be a cold-storming wet deluge
 meanwhile like me they can "play" outside
 and even go to the American River Parkway biking trail
 maybe just to look at the river too and sigh
 wishing they could rent a kayak or other boat during such a warm winter day
 —Michelle Kunert


The first and only time I ever recall of dreaming of sheep:
 In it I saw them graze in Carmichael Park
 and I learned it was part of a new county maintenance program, that
 they had fired the usual lawn-mowing crews from the budget
 and now instead were hauling these black-colored sheep around Sacramento

 —Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

This new obsession, out-of-place items,
clues and tools to solve a mystery
just unfolding. She grasps her tablet tight.
On the screen a door creaks open:
a corridor cluttered as her great-aunt's attic,
or her own garage. Her first find—
almost too easy, a pair
of antlers. Now,
spool of thread and a kangaroo; gavel
posing as a bookend. Public opinion looks
on this as a waste of time; addiction
unknown before the computer age. But
here's a fishing reel; a Cinderella slipper.
She still needs the evacuation plan—
likely hidden in a secret cubby. Where's
the key? Morning drifts toward noon.
She taps and swipes. If she closed
her tablet and opened her closet door,
what long-lost objects? What mystery?


—Taylor Graham

Waiting for him, you contemplate a box
of heart-shaped cardboard. Such a paradox,
these luscious treats so full of dark and light
obsession. Who could stop at just one bite?
What seems a gift is a Pandora's box.

And yet, a secret: this dark chocolate locks
heart-health in sweet fermentation that mocks
all your old notions of what's wrong and right.
            Waiting for him

in doctors' offices with tiny crocks
of Kisses on the counter, you count clocks
like pulses, lifelines. Every day's a flight
of tradeoffs—of complaints and small delight—
this bit of chocolate, this brief equinox
                        waiting for him.

Today's LittleNip:

You must stay drunk on writing, so reality doesn't destroy you.

—Ray Bradbury (with thanks to Charles Mariano of Sacramento)



Laura Cook reads at Sac. Poetry Center,
Russell Brown and his daughter in the background.
See Medusa's Facebook page for more of
Michelle Kunert's photos of the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Gala held on Monday, Jan. 21!